B-Alterman: We are going to start soon, the format is a moderated Q&A
B-Alterman: OK, I am ready for Q number 1:)
KingSyed: How did you generate the opening books for deep j
B-Alterman: Mostly by using ChessBase databases and preparing special lines
StephaneD: Hi Boris. Thanks for being here. Can you tell us what you changed to make the computer play better from one game to the next ?
B-Alterman: trying to make sure the variations and openings fit its style
B-Alterman: my first idea: making the lines sharper! and move faster
B-Alterman: we didn't want to change the openings too often and look like cowards, it would give Garry too much of an edge!
B-Alterman: we tried to go head to head with Garry, who was playing very tactically
Wexell: Hi Boris, can you please tell me why Deep Junior got so bad choices in the opening playing against Kasparovs Anti-Meran?
B-Alterman: Yes, indeed there was a nice improvement by Garry (and his helpers)
B-Alterman: he worked hard on it, knowing it was Junior's main defense
B-Alterman: worse yet: Junior itself likes the g4 line!
chessmani: do you think junior is as strong as Deep Blue?
B-Alterman: Yes, in my opinion yes, junior plays better than DB
B-Alterman: we have a much more stable Algorithm
B-Alterman: that compensates for DB's brute force
B-Alterman: one can say that DJ 'Understands" chess much better, relys more on that than speed
d4damager: in particular what changes were made after DJ lost so badly in game 1?
B-Alterman: firstly we changed its 'version'
B-Alterman: to a much more aggressive one!
B-Alterman: Kasparov was playing regular chess in place of the 'anti computer tactics' he used vs DB
B-Alterman: I had to work hard and plenty to solve possible main line openings problems
B-Alterman: as you well know, it is very difficult toplay openings against Kasparov! game 1 was proof
JustinSane: would you agree that kasparov overall outplayed the computer strategically?
B-Alterman: only in games 2 and 6 I think
B-Alterman: strategically speaking, i think in other games Junior was no worse
B-Alterman: especially in game 4!
B-Alterman: remember Rb1 with a5 and b5
ChessicStudent: for those of us who program chess engines, could you describe the features of DJ? search/pruning methods, etc.?
B-Alterman: sorry, I am not able to answer specific pure computer questions, maybe we will get Amir or Shayfor that:)
B-Alterman: chessically speaking, Junior as opposed to others is extremely aggressive
EeEk: Alterman is not a programmer, he does the opening book, no expertise there I think
StephaneD: Are we still very far from the point where computers don't need opening books at all anymore? Where they can just use their algorithms and speeds to find the best opening for their opponent's moves?
B-Alterman: still ways away, maybe not that long, but not there yet
B-Alterman: as you saw, the anti computer tactics don't work like they used to in years past
B-Alterman: as game 4 has shown: if you give the computer a big center and development edge, it can get dangerous!:)
Shamma: Would DJ have won, lost or drawn in your opinion had Kasparov not offered the draw in game 6? And do you feel the draw rules favored Kasparov?
B-Alterman: well, Kasparov by then was quite nervous and edgy
B-Alterman: his first priority was as he indicated:" not to lose"
B-Alterman: and even in an easy to play, better endgame he was concerned
B-Alterman: I asked him after the game why he gave the exchange when b5-b4 was a simple way to draw
B-Alterman: but he was hard pressed to answer that
B-Alterman: he was positive Junior's evaluation would drop below 0,00
B-Alterman: of course Junior optimistically was +.30 at some point around there!
B-Alterman: of course Kasparov had missed bc1(!)
B-Alterman: when the move came, he was very surprised
B-Alterman: my guess is that his immediate thought was that he might be losing:)
B-Alterman: Ba3 off hand looks scary!
B-Alterman: after some thinking, he collected himself with Ne8!
BlunderfulLife: How much do you rely on Junior's own judgement in building its opening repertoire?
B-Alterman: wow a tough Q to answer:)
B-Alterman: lets see
B-Alterman: the hardest thing is to find positions where Junior has attacking chances and the initiative where he is best at
B-Alterman: sadly, that can't happen in every game
B-Alterman: it is one heck of a task fitting openings to this wild computer:)
B-Alterman: I guess it is fair to say I do the matching with hopes of its approval:)
Cowpie: when you say tha DJ understands chess better, how far in the future do you forsee that computers will be unbeatable?
B-Alterman: I am predicting 3-5 years
B-Alterman: by then I think computers will be faster, more aggressive
POTZY: Why do you think that in both the Kramnik-Fritz match and Kasparov-Junior, the human got an early lead and it looked like it would be a crush, but then the matches ended in draws? Did the humans get tired or overconfident?
B-Alterman: well, first of all there is the element of psychology of which only the human is affected by
B-Alterman: winning early boost one's confidence of course
B-Alterman: but then when the machine gets a tune up, it gets harder
B-Alterman: the human misses: he gets very affected by it
B-Alterman: the computer.... well, it doesn't even 'know' it is playing chess:)
B-Alterman: lastly, of course there is the elementof eventual fatigue
B-Alterman: when the human gets cautious he often gives away the initiative
B-Alterman: in the last 3 games Kasparov was on the defense
B-Alterman: much for the reasons I have mentioned
B-Alterman: who would have predicted that after game 1?
d4damager: can you describe how the Deep Junior team was feeling when DJ played Bxh2 in game 5? Did you think, 'oh no DJ has blown it'?
B-Alterman: you know, I was in the shower when it played it! My wife called me from Israel to tell me: " he went Bxh2+!"
B-Alterman: but to answer the Q: before game 5 I decided to change openings
B-Alterman: I was debating among Q indian, Catalan defense, Nimzo Indian, i did 40 hours worth of work
B-Alterman: so ok, after I learned of Bxh2 i went down at once
B-Alterman: all tell me Junior is losing:)
B-Alterman: for example Fritz had +2.00!
B-Alterman: I wasn't so sure it was losing
B-Alterman: so i went to see what Junior was 'thinking'
B-Alterman: what a crazy position
LazyPawn: My question is why did DJ play Bxh2+ sac in game 5, did he consider the position reached by force after Qg5 f4 as better for black?
B-Alterman: the computer seemed optimistic! it looked like the K in the center was worth more than anything else
B-Alterman: the programmers thought it would be a draw by perpetual and I asked: " what about g3"
B-Alterman: well, it was confusing! a piece down, no concrete mate
B-Alterman: if the K makes it to e1, where is the compensation!?
B-Alterman: then Junior started showing an evaluation of 0.00
hnmandell: Was K caught off guard by the bishop sacrifice on h2 or was that something he was well prepared for?
B-Alterman: Kasparov was certainly surprised! Of course the idea exists in this opening, so the move itself is nothing new, but usually it is not possible!
B-Alterman: after he took the B he looked at Amir as if asking 'what is going on'!?
B-Alterman: he tried to 'surprise' Junior with his Qc2 but Junior decided on his own surprise:)
B-Alterman: hey it was a great move!
B-Alterman: in the press conference yasser and Garry claimed g3 was winning but I can tell u now it is not clear at all
Helaman: how would you compare deep fritz to deep junior, strength wise.
B-Alterman: well, this is a bit difficult... of course Junior is as i mentioned much more aggressive
B-Alterman: Fritz hardly ever sacks a pawn for initiative!
B-Alterman: and of course... we beat Fritz at the computer world champs:)
EeEk: Boris, I remember a few years ago you played a game against a computer, which I think was Junior, you had all pawns on the fourth rank, could you do this again, by anti computer play?
B-Alterman: I remember the game but it was against Fritz
B-Alterman: to answer the Q: no i don't
B-Alterman: no chance IMo to reach this again
Tennis: Hi Boris, can you tell me why Deep Junior played such moves as b6 I think it was in game 2 or 3... the move everyone thought was not a good move
B-Alterman: ...b6 was my special preparation for kasparov's anti Meran!
B-Alterman: it was a good idea, but who told it to 0-0?:)
B-Alterman: maybe black is a bit worse in this ...b6 line, but the type of position we wanted against Garry!
B-Alterman: Kasparov was very smart in thatgame... 9.Bd2 was a very wise move
B-Alterman: luring 0-0!
B-Alterman: which of course was VERY RISKY!
B-Alterman: I wish i could see Garry's face had the computer played Bb7 with c5 to follow
B-Alterman: I think he would have steered the game nto a draw as soon as possible in that case
B-Alterman: cause then white would have no edge (the bad side of Bd2)
Joplin: Do you feel that the very best grandmasters are still capable of overplaying the best programs in positional play like Kasparov did in the first game and therefore in order to succeed the program must be prepared to avoid positional lines??
B-Alterman: well, g 1 was more tactical than positional I think
B-Alterman: after g4
B-Alterman: but I think ok... some world class players can compete vs computers even positionally
B-Alterman: game 2 btw is a good example of outplaying the computer positionally
AngelDown: Boris, being a second of Kasparov for 2 years, did this help you to prepare DJ opening book ???
B-Alterman: No not at all, I was his second mainly before his abandoned match with Shirov, circa 1998
B-Alterman: after that Garry changed a lot of his openings and variations
KingSyed: can you beat deep junior boris
B-Alterman: well, it is a bit unfair, after all... Iknow a lot about its drawbacks:0
B-Alterman: I still don't think i could beat it in a match, maybe in an individual game sure
Marshenko: Is there any way to explain how Smirin won his match against Deep Junior 5-3, but Kasparov only drew?
B-Alterman: Smirin beat a team of computers
B-Alterman: it was not only Junior but also Tiger and Shredder
B-Alterman: Junior and Hiarcs drew but in the year 2000 it drew 2300 players in the Israeli league
B-Alterman: nowadays as I have mentioned, it is a much much stronger beast!
B-Alterman: Shay and Amir did an awesome job making it what it is now, the #1 program!
StephaneD: In your interview with chessbase you seem to imply that the "h3" and "a3" moves, derided for being just waiting moves, were much better than people thought. Can you expand ?
B-Alterman: clearly a3 and h3 were NOT the best moves in the position
B-Alterman: but they have the advantage that to try to take advantage of them, one must try to break in the center
B-Alterman: Garry wasn't ready for it
B-Alterman: who can blame him? it is a huge risk to play open positions vs the computer
B-Alterman: so he prefered to keep it closed and defend
B-Alterman: 60 moves and no Garry's piece over the 5th rank:) but he made a draw
Bakoenin: How does it feel that a program you worked on drew with the strongest player in the world?
B-Alterman: it feels great! it feels like success
B-Alterman: btw my pride is doubly cause we managed to keep the style and openings we wanted! it was a direct fight where Junior tied
DiMarco: How did Kasparov prepare for the match? Does he have time to specialize against Deep Junior with his schedule? Did he talk with the Deep Junior team and yourself during the match?
B-Alterman: Kasparov had a version of Junior which was close to what we had, not the same of course but similar dating to July 2002
B-Alterman: also as we see from the new move in game 1, he and his seconds prepared some new ideas and improvements in the main openings
B-Alterman: his assistants (Kobalia and Dokhoian) tried all kinds of things to find weaknesses
B-Alterman: he did not speak to us DURING the match of course
bluebelt: Boris, if it was just Garry vs. DJ, without seconds such as yourself, would Garry have won easily?
B-Alterman: good question, I like it! well:
B-Alterman: ok I think the answer is yes
B-Alterman: I think without help and some chess guidance the computer would have been in an inferior position yes
B-Alterman: but of course this is a big hypothetical cause neither will ever be without seconds:)
Marshenko: What was the mood in the Deep Junior camp after Kasparov's handy win in game one?
B-Alterman: well, it was a feeling of "time for a complete overhaul"
B-Alterman: I took the programmers to a serious chat
B-Alterman: I tried hard to explain to them, that Kasparov is trying to go for a quick Knockout!
B-Alterman: no anti computer tactics but rather a head on fight!
B-Alterman: it was hard to convince them
B-Alterman: it was time for a serious 'counter strategy'
B-Alterman: time for a serious revision of openings
B-Alterman: aim for getting active positions
B-Alterman: as I said the first thing to enter was a yet more aggressive version of junior
B-Alterman: and it worked!
big-boss: Hi Boris, can you please tell me if in your opinion avoiding quick draws (or short games in general) would have made Kasparov's life much more difficult?
B-Alterman: you must mean short draw, not really quick:)
B-Alterman: but the answer is yes, although it is harder during the match... we declined his draw offer after Rxc3 in the last game if you recall but it ws risky
d4damager: do you think kasparov is the toughest opponent for DJ? Dont you think DJ would have more problems with players who have a more 'solid' style like Kramnik or Leko
B-Alterman: well, Kasparov's strategy of direct tactics was quite a dangerous one for us
B-Alterman: I like to remind you in 2000 we beat Leko with black
B-Alterman: in Dortmund
B-Alterman: so overall i think Kasparov is probably the most difficult
B-Alterman: with Kramnik it is less to fear openings wise and as his style showed vs Fritz, it is less scary than Kasparov
ThePugilist: Since opening theory is created by humans, do you really think it is fair that DJ can have infinite book knowledge??
B-Alterman: well I think it falls under the category of programming
B-Alterman: similar to table bases
B-Alterman: I see nothing wrong with it, it is 'part of the game'
Wexell: In your opinion, how Kasparov felt the result?
B-Alterman: well, I am sure at the end he must have been relieved and happy
B-Alterman: after game one, i am sure he thought he would win (maybe 4:2 or so)
B-Alterman: of course game 3 changed all of this and game 5 was too much of a shock to recover for one more game
B-Alterman: you stop believing in yourself
B-Alterman: keep in mind that Garry was losing in game 4 also...
natureman: It seems to me that GMs are still adjusting to playing computers - there is the occasional tendency to overreach - will GMs performance improve with practice?
B-Alterman: hmm tough Q
B-Alterman: this is one of the problems of being a human:)
B-Alterman: unlike the computer which is a cold blooded machine!
B-Alterman: emotions play a part, i think it will not change much.... humans will always suffer from it
llcoolj: why was game 6 not played out?
B-Alterman: well, i think I kind of answered that
B-Alterman: after Rxc3 a draw offer came
B-Alterman: and junior thought it was better (+.40)
B-Alterman: and thanks to Bc1 he is alive but Ne8! was great
B-Alterman: certainly Junior wasn't better so we offered a draw
B-Alterman: and as I said Garry was in a state of fatigue so accepting it was no surprise
gluon: It appears as though a weakness humans have against computers is that they cannot maintain concentration as long as a machine and eventually wear down. Do you think this had an impact during the match?
B-Alterman: Yes for sure
B-Alterman: emotions and fatigue were a part of the match obviously
B-Alterman: after game 3 Garry was demoralized and tired
B-Alterman: 2 misses in a row
B-Alterman: you lose confidence and of course as the match progresses fatigue join in
B-Alterman: computers... they are immune from this:)
B-Alterman: that might even add to the frustration
ThePugilist: How would DJ do without ANY opening theory?
B-Alterman: that would be interesting to test out!
B-Alterman: of course we wouldn't dream of it during the match:) I predict it would have a hard time without some book
B-Alterman: when we do testing without the book we find it is often having a hard time knowing where to 'put the pieces'
B-Alterman: it can't appreciate their needs later on
Andrew-green2: Do u think garry prepared well for the match in his openings or should he have gone for a different approach ?
B-Alterman: I think he was quite well prepared, no doubt there
B-Alterman: things could have developed quite differently had he not blundered
e-hongisto: Hi Boris, can you tell me....what part did you play in the hedgehog draw? Did you have any day in having juniopr play out the endgame that was clearly drawn?
B-Alterman: well, sadly, Junior and the programmers were too optimistic:)
B-Alterman: the evaluation was around 2.5
B-Alterman: but of course it was a positional draw:(
B-Alterman: Junior thought he might walk his K to 'eat' the b6 pawn
B-Alterman: didn't realize it was totally cut off and no progress
B-Alterman: too long to calculate for the computer
BlunderfulLife: Do you think that "computer moves" will look less odd in a few years? E.g., the Nimzo looked odd to GMs in the 1920s, but human style evolved. Or are the moves just bad?
B-Alterman: well, some moves are just plain not the best like the h3 and a3 we discussed before
B-Alterman: also Kh1 Kg1 if you guys remember
B-Alterman: but the nice thing is that it is hard to impossible to really take advantage of them
B-Alterman: in a sense it is the same even for flashy moves like Bxh2+
B-Alterman: the computer had an even value to both Bxh2 and b6 in game 5
B-Alterman: it took some lines to choose one over the other
B-Alterman: a good GM would probably go for b6
nminwalla: were you surprised that kasparov played Sicilians rather than playing for closed positions?
B-Alterman: nothing was a surprise after game 1!
B-Alterman: we 'got the message' that he is going main lines
B-Alterman: Sicilians, hardly any surprise
buyze: would DJ play moves like 1.b4 or 1.g4 without openingbook?
B-Alterman: e4 and d4 would still be his preferences
B-Alterman: of course no book is needed for the basic principles
B-Alterman: ok 2-3 more Q and then we are done:)
Lingsell: Is there anything in perticular that you want to improve with DJ?
B-Alterman: yes sure:
B-Alterman: positional 'understanding' is the main thing!
B-Alterman: avoid the problems of games 2 and 6
B-Alterman: improve endgame 'understanding' to avoid stuff like in game 4
B-Alterman: we already made some progress, but there are cleasr future goals!
Bolivar: is it foreseen Júnior's 8 version soon?
EeEk: Many questions about possible release of Junior 8, next Junior version, do you know anything about it?
B-Alterman: well, I am not sure how much I am at liberty to reveal here
B-Alterman: but I know Amir and Shay singed something recently
B-Alterman: so lets hope for 'soon'
B-Alterman: (in the process of signing I sould say more accurately)
Malesonan: Mr. Alterman, what opening do you think Deep Junior can play best for white? and for black?
B-Alterman: ok lets see:
B-Alterman: for white 1.e4 with open sicilian, Ruy Lopez
B-Alterman: for black: Meran and Queen's Gambit Accepted
B-Alterman: but the Nimzo has shown some good signs of progress!
B-Alterman: oh and of course sicilian vs 1.e4
B-Alterman: like Najdorf or Richter Rauzer
d4damager: Many thanks to GM Alterman for spending so much time answering our questions, and congratulations for a fine job in the match!
B-Alterman: Thanks all for being here and participating!
EeEk: Thanks a lot to Alterman for answering the questions!
B-Alterman: my pleasure! hpe you guys (and gals:)) had fun
EeEk: I hope you all enjoyed it, a transcript of this session will be made available soon I hope.